Dandy in the Underworld is the twelfth and final studio album by English glam rock rock act T. Rex. It was released on 11 March 1977 by record label EMI. It reached No. 26 in the UK charts, the band's highest-charting album since 1974's Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of Tomorrow. The title track was released as a single but failed to chart, though "I Love to Boogie" and "The Soul of My Suit" achieved chart placings in the UK.
After three commercially weak albums, Dandy in the Underworld was regarded by many T. Rex fans as a comeback for the band. However, it would prove to be the band's final album, as Marc Bolan died in a car crash in September 1977. The album was praised for the strength of the songwriting and Bolan's vocal performances.
I worked on two tracks on this album, along with a number of other songs including a later single "Laser Love". The track "I Love to Boogie" was recorded and mixed in a single day at Decibel Studios in Stoke Newington, London N16. The studio was very small and funky; Marc liked it because it reminded him of the old Sun Studio in Memphis where a lot of early rock and roll records were made. The single was mastered from what was originally intended to be a rough mix which Marc took home. It was mixed in about fifteen minutes by myself and Marc. I just threw up the faders; there were no computers in those days, and we went "OK that'll do". Mick O'Halloran, Marc's roadie, was going "Hurry up, we've got to leave now"; I think Marc had an appointment or something. [...] We got Dino's Fender Rhodes piano to distort a bit by cranking up the input on the desk, crude but quick and effective. Try doing that on a modern digital desk! Anyway, Marc liked the mix so much that it was released just as it was, much to my surprise, but it still sounds good thirty years later. The master mix was also done at 7.5 inches per second as I recall, rather than the usual 15 ips. This was so that Marc could play it on his reel-to-reel at home that night. This, along with the fact that the multitrack was an Ampex two-inch 16-track machine rather than the 24-track which was more common by then, helps to give the track its beefy sound. The other song on the album we did at Decibel was "Universe", which was subsequently overdubbed and mixed at Air studios by Mike Stavrou, I think. These were also the last tracks that Marc did with the old rhythm section of Steve Currie and Davy Lutton before Tony Newman and Herbie Flowers came on board.
The track "Visions of Domino" was a re-recording of an unreleased single, "Funky London Childhood".
The title track was released as a single in a remixed and re-recorded version with the offending lyrics "Exalted companion of cocaine nights" being changed to "T. Rex nights". "Crimson Moon" was also released as a single the same year, as well as the non-album track "Celebrate Summer" in August.
Dandy in the Underworld was remastered for CD by Edsel Records in 1994 as part of their extensive T. Rex reissue campaign. A number of bonus tracks were added (see below). A companion release, entitled Prince of Players (The Alternate Dandy in the Underworld) was released in 1998 and contained alternative versions and studio rough mixes of the main album and bonus tracks. A combined album digipak was released in 2002.
Dandy in the Underworld gathered the most consistently positive reviews for any T. Rex album in five years. Having fallen from critical and commercial favour, the band had endured some fiercely hostile press, but NME, which had been amongst the most negative, noted of the album: "very listenable, well arranged [and] immaculately played."